Monday, January 10, 2011

A bit more about occupations with green jobs

As we’ve mentioned in recent posts, one goal of our Green Jobs Grant is to learn more about green jobs. Specifically, we’re studying 13 occupations where new or additional skills may be required for workers in the future. These changing skill sets occur as traditional occupations become “greener” or as emerging occupations respond to a demand for green products and services.

We’re also studying the differences between green jobs and non-green jobs within the same occupation. The first step of this process was to compile as much previously known information about the 13 occupations as possible prior to conducting more detailed research.

Employment, Projections, and Wages

Of the 13 occupations selected for study, 11 had measurable employment in Oregon in 2008. Wind turbine service technicians and solar photovoltaic installers are popularly discussed as examples of green jobs; however they are relatively new occupations and don't yet have publishable employment estimates in the United States.

Of the remaining occupations, the one with the most employment in 2008 and the greatest number of projected job openings was farmworkers and laborers for crops, nurseries, and greenhouses. In 2008 there were 3,189 green jobs in this occupation, indicating that only a portion of the growth will be in green jobs. Not all of the jobs in this occupation, or any other occupation, are green jobs.

Education and Training
From our 2009 Green Jobs Survey we learned that roughly two-thirds of Oregon's green jobs require no education beyond high school (according to employers). However, there is often a significant difference between the minimum education needed for a job and the education level that will make a job candidate competitive in the hiring process.

• Of the 13 occupations selected, two require a bachelor's degree and two require postsecondary training.
• Seven of the occupations typically provide on-the-job training or require related work experience but don't require formal education beyond high school. A job seeker, however, would be competitive in only two occupations if s/he didn't have some postsecondary education.
• Four of the occupations also have state-required licenses.

When employers post job openings on the Employment Department’s free job-matching tool (iMatchSkills), the employers indicate which skills they want job seekers to possess.

The majority of the skills requested by employers are occupation specific. However, there are some common threads through many of the occupations with green jobs. Ten skills are sought much more frequently than average, and in multiple occupations (see table below).

This post is a summary of the first article on Oregon's green jobs originally published in April 2010. To view the first nine articles of the series in their entirety visit

1 comment:

Julie said...

What I find interesting in your surveys is you won't be able to capture differences in the same category for jobs that can be performed "green" or "nongreen." A simple example is a janitorial service. Cleaning can be done with a lot of harsh/dangerous chemicals (bleach, ammonia, and all those benzo- and -ene things), soap dispensers restocked with phosphate soaps, and paper products from non-recycled materials. Or it can be green with simple ingredients (vinegar, baking soda), non-phosphates, and post-consumer recycled papers. Same with the farmworkers category, where a farm can fertilize with chemicals and use lots of herbicides/pesticides -- or it can use non-chemical soil amendments and organic controls.